Dear Spencer

Dear Spencer,

Usually I write my thoughts to you in your journal. Today I decided to share them with you and to all and any who chose to read this. I hope that’s OK.

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years. I remember holding you and not wanting to let you go. I knew once I did, I was letting you go for the rest of this earthly life. I know we will meet again. I know this because I have faith and because I understand life. But missing you seems to be getting harder in stead of easier with each year passing. Each year is like a new layer to my grief. Every year I wonder what you would be doing and realize what I am missing.

Our world is crazy and maybe I should be happy that you were spared to live in such an awful place. But it’s also beautiful. I would give anything to be able to see it through your eyes. The first time Katie saw a rainbow in the sky she said, “Wow, I didn’t know those were in real life.” Every time any of your siblings see a butterfly they get super excited. Xander told me today “Look mom, there is a big balloon in the sky.” He was looking at the sun. But it was so hazy today that it just looked like  a balloon. So many of these moments I get to share with them, but not with you.

Last year your baby sister was born two months early. I was afraid I would lose her. She is a precious gift and a reminder that miracles do still happen. While I was sitting there watching her grow in her little crib, I couldn’t help but wonder about the fairness in life. Here she was just 2lbs 10 oz working hard to mature enough to survive outside of that incubator, and yet you were 8lbs 3 oz, full term, healthy and didn’t get to live. And we don’t know why for sure. How does that make sense? Why couldn’t I have you both?

It’s been a rough year and today has been a rough day. I haven’t been to see you as much, and this makes me sad. I know it happens. Life happens. But I thought I would visit you everyday the rest of my life. I still think of you everyday. In fact, I think about you all the time. We just had family pictures done and I can’t help but wonder where your little face would have been. The neighbor kids get together and I wonder what it would have been like if you were there too. I wonder how we would have arranged our house if you were still here. But the hardest thing about this year was knowing that everyone else has forgotten you. It’s OK and I know it’s OK. I don’t expect everyone to remember today just because I will never forget. But there is still a sadness knowing that you are really alone in your grief. Everyone else HAS moved on, but I still hold on. Just a little. Especially on this day. Even grandma doesn’t count you when she counts her grandkids. Maybe that is too much to ask. Maybe that’s normal. But I still count you as one of my kids. It’s like today, 7 years ago, never happened.

What infuriates me more, though, is that your life was somehow minimized because you were stillborn. Yeah, but you were still born. I still had to go through labor, even though I didn’t get to bring you home. My milk still came in even though I didn’t get to nurse you.  I still had baby weight to lose. I still had to deal with hormone changes and night sweats. You are still my son, and I still love you. I miss you still and I remember you still.

I will never forget you were once alive in me. How can a baby “die in utero” if they were never alive in the first place? You were alive. I felt you kick me. I felt you hiccup. I heard your heart beat, and I felt your spirit. When you left me, I felt that too. I knew you were gone. I didn’t want to believe it. I held on to the hope that I was wrong and just worried for no reason. But when they told me you died, that’s when I died too. I already knew you were gone, but knowing for sure killed a part of me. I will always have that sadness, even when I am happy and even when no one knows what happened. Even when no one remembers what happened. I will always remember you.

No one “gets it”. You know? No one understands what this is like unless they have been there. It’s funny to me that when you lose someone how many books about grief you end up with. What’s even funnier how many of those people who give you a book, have actually read it. The grieving read it. We even go to therapy and are told over and over that what we are feeling is normal. But then when we try to explain it to our loved ones, they give us advice or say things that are clearly unhelpful. They would know this if they read the book they gave us.

But they don’t understand. And the grieving have to accept this. We have to have the filter. On top of everything else, we are responsible for that too. Seems unfair and unkind. But that’s life and the reality. I do accept it and have learned that taking that on shows love for those around me. I want to love those around me. I believe it honors you best. But some days I need a break from that filter. Some days are just hard. Sometimes I miss you so much that I just need someone to give me a hug and say, “I remember him too.” I wish that could have been today.

I love you, even though I didn’t get to know you. Until we meet again, my dearest.

Mommy

Update!!!

OK-so my last post was all about weight loss. Actually my last two posts. So here is an update on that. I started going to bed earlier and eating within 1/2 hour of waking and I started to see the scale go down.  I didn’t want to get too excited because after all, I have been bouncing around those pesky 5 pounds for over 5 months! But the next week when I weighed in, I lost again! I finally got another 5lb sticker from Weight Watchers!!! Yeah!!!

And then I got sick. Really sick. If you want to lose weight fast, get pneumonia. I didn’t even realize how much weight I had lost and didn’t really worry about it because I was too busy getting better. Plus, once you can eat again…well, you know the rest. I was afraid I would just shoot back up so I didn’t even get on the scale before I went to weight watchers last week. But to my super excited surprise, I lost 6 pounds!!! Holy cow! I have lost a total of 10 pounds since my last post. I’m still a little worried that I will gain back the weight I lost during illness, but it is so nice to see that scale slowly moving down after such a long plateau.

I am almost to goal and I am excited to say the least. My goals now are to keep getting in that sleep, still eat soon after waking and start exercising again. Had to take a break when I got sick and I miss it so much!

IN OTHER NEWS

So now that I have updated everyone on the weight loss, here is the update on the rest of life. While I was sick in bed we got an offer on our home. A few days later, after some negotiating, our house went under contract. That’s right! We are moving!!! Two months out of the bishopric and we sold our house. How funny is that? I will keep everyone posted on that bit of news.

Lizzie had a birthday during all of this as well. She turned 3 years old!! I can hardly believe my kiddos are growing so fast!! We took Katie to Build-A-Bear for her third birthday so we decided to make it tradition. But before we hit the Build-A-Bear, we went to Dee’s for Dinner. Here are the girls looking at the menu together and Xander looking a little apprehensive about that lemon he’s holding.

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Then off we went to get a bear! Here are the girls walking hand in hand. It was so cute! Katie really wanted to help Lizzie pick out her bear. She is such a good big sister taking care of Lizzie.

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We finally arrived!

Here she is holding the bear she picked out. She got to press the peddle to fill her up with fluff, give her a bear bath, and pick out clothes. She seemed a little overwhelmed by the whole experience. It was funny to watch her as she dazed through the store trying to figure out what to do and what to buy. Getting to the end was a treat for us all! DSC_0053DSC_0056DSC_0058

What do you think of Build-A-Bear Lizzie?

Ummmm….

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I like it.

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The next day was her actual birthday, so we went to the State Fair. Came home for a little party, and then went back to the State Fair for family pictures! Whew! It was quite a day. I think she had a really great birthday.  I think she is starting to get the idea that she is now 3 years old. At first if any one asked, she would say “I’m 2!” We had been working on it for so long and she finally got the answer right to that question just to go and have a birthday! Then she said, “I am 2 and 3”. Now she says she’s three! Oh how fun it is!

My New Year

So, I’ve decided to write about my weight loss. As most of you know, after I had Lizzie I decided to join Weight Watchers and get my healthy life back. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Here are a couple of pictures to show my before…..(almost 3 months after I had Lizzie)….

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My head was cut off in the first picture, but it’s the only full body shot I have. I didn’t really like taking pictures at this time in my life.

Many people asked me how I lost my weight and I am here to tell you, it took a lot of hard work. I joined Weight Watchers because I knew it worked, and I knew I needed the extra support system. Plus being accountable to someone other than my husband was a real benefit. Not that Bryce isn’t supportive, because he really is, but because he was too easy on me. The other thing I did was run. I ran like crazy. I entered several races, especially a 1/2 marathon in Bryce Canyon, and then trained for them. Knowing I spent money on these races and that a possible vacation was in the mix gave me quite a bit of motivation to get out there and train. I was really scared to do the 1/2 marathon. I had never run 13 miles all at once before and thought I just might die doing it, so I had to train! And I did it and I was pretty proud of myself.

DSCF8175Salt Lake City 5K that I ran with my sister, Misty in April 2010.

DSCF8222DSCF8223My Memorial Day Weekend 10K run.

DSCF8329Running With Angels 5K in June 2010.

DSCF8394DSCF8401Bryce Canyon 1/2 Marathon in July 2010 and 1/2 way to goal. Only 40 lbs left to lose.

DSCF8536DSCF8580September visit to Washington and Lizzie’s first birthday.

 

 (158 of 283) (263 of 283)Family pictures in October 2010.

DSCF8744Thanksgiving…1 year from the first picture posted. WOW! What a difference!

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In just about 1 year I lost 72 lbs!

I was just 4 lbs away from my goal weight when I found out I was pregnant again. I wasn’t expecting to be expecting so quickly. After all with the last 2 babies it took 9-12 months to get pregnant. I was sure this would be the case again. Turns out my new healthy livin’ was just the thing I needed and with in a couple of months I was pregnant with Xander.

I had mixed feelings about the pregnancy. I knew I gain weight with pregnancy and I had worked so hard to lose the weight. But I was so excited to find out I was having another baby! I didn’t really watch what I ate and I hardly exercised because I had morning sickness the entire time! It tapered off toward the middle to the end, but I was always battling an upset tummy.

DSCF8090about 4 months along.copyright tslp 20112 weeks before I gave birth.

After Xander was born I decided I was going to get back in shape and quick! I joined Weight Watchers again 2 weeks after I gave birth. I ran my first race 6 weeks after he was born. I ‘ve decided this was nuts and I will never do that again! BUT! It did help to have the mind set when the holidays hit even though I had to completely abandon plan for a couple of weeks.

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So here we are in the New Year and I am back on track. I have learned a few things these last couple of years and I hope to continue to grow and learn about health throughout the year. Since Xander was born I have lost 8 lbs of the 40lbs I gained from pregnancy. I have now, 37lbs to go before I hit my goal weight. I have decided to document the things I am doing here so I can be accountable to all of my readers (few they may be). I will post recipes I find beneficial to my goals, exercise tips, and most definitely any successes! I hope any of you out there will be willing to share as well and post any tips or successes. I will be posting pictures along the way.  Here’s to a fabulous and healthy New Year!!

Another Year Without Him

I made it another year with out my sweet baby boy Spencer. I have been thinking a lot about him lately and what I should write here about these last four years. That’s right! He would be four years old today. I have heard a lot lately ,”You finally have your boy!” when people congratulate me on the birth of Xander. I have to admit, it brings bitter sweet feelings. On the one hand I am eternally grateful Xander is here and healthy, and I am happy I finally get to raise a boy here on earth. On the other hand, he is my second boy. I still consider Spencer very much part of my family and he always will be part of this family. Xander didn’t replace the one I lost and I wont just “get over” losing Spencer because I finally have my boy.

I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to bring Xander to this world and have his big brother welcoming him. Would Spencer have been excited to be getting a brother? Would he take Xander under his wing and teach him how to be a boy like the way Katie teaches Lizzie how to paint her nails and play dress up? Would I be constantly kissing bruises and mending scrapes from their wrestling matches? Will Xander ever even feel that loss and know there is even a brother for him to miss and who will always watch over him? I can’t help but think of all the things Xander is missing out on without his big brother here. We still miss Spencer and miss him with every passing year and with each new experience that comes our way that he should have be able to experience with us.

I am grateful I have my boy. I am grateful for both of them. I just have one in heaven and one here. This has made me think again how well meaning people can say such hurtful things without meaning to be hurtful. I find I constantly remind myself as I hear these comments that they are trying to be nice as I smile and nod. Then I go and think about how much I miss him. So what should these well meaning people say when congratulating me on my little baby boy? It’s actually pretty simple. “Congratulations! What a beautiful baby!”  No need to even hint that there was a loss or that we were trying hard to get a boy or any of that stuff. Just congratulate me and that’s enough!

How would someone know to do this? Well, this question has motivated me to send advice out to the world especially those who have not had a close family loss or loss at all. It wouldn’t hurt for you to read a little about grieving. If you know someone close is grieving, it would do a world of good to just read up a little so that you can be a greater support and less of a shake of salt in a very raw wound. I had a friend tell me shortly after I lost Spencer that she didn’t need to read up on grieving because she herself wasn’t going through what I was going through. It helps a person who is grieving to understand the grieving process, but it also helps when those around them understand it as well. For this reason I have added a couple of  links to fantastic articles to help those of you out there who want to understand your friend or family member that is acting crazy after a loss, even if it has been four years.

 

http://www.ldsmissionarymoms.com/helptopics/About_Grieving_and_Giving_Solace/

http://www.storyhack.com/2008/10/15/how-to-talk-to-a-parent-that-has-lost-a-child/

 

In honor of our son Spencer I am making little crocheted bears to give to parents who have lost a child. I donate much of what I do in his honor to Utah SHARE. This organization helps parents who have lost a child through miscarriage, still birth and infant death.  Every year we try to donate something in memory of Spencer and invite any who would like to participate. If you would like a simple way to show support and honor the memories of ones loved by those you love, here are some more links. These are just for loss of a baby. If anyone knows of other links for other types of loss and grief, please share. You can always ask someone who is grieving what organization you can donate to in memory of their loved one. It’s a simple way to show your love and support. I know for me it means a lot when my friends and family remember Spencer, especially on this day.

www.utahshare.org

http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/products/nilmdts_donation/

http://october15th.com/

Happy Birthday Spencer! We love you and miss you so much!

New Baby!!!

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I am finally getting around to posting about the birth of our new baby. Things have been so crazy and it’s been hard to put into words all that happened to get this little guy here.

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First of all, I wanted some maternity pictures done before he got here. With 4 weeks to go and really hardly any space on the calendar, we finally got some in with the help of our friend Carrie. She does great work and though the kids were slightly uncooperative, we still managed to get some pretty cute pictures! And just in time, too!copyright tslp 2011

My parents came in on the 1st of October. Another tiny miracle on timing since they had originally planned to come the following weekend. Considering my babies have all come 1 1/2 weeks early gave my folks the perfect excuse to make their way down on Conference weekend. Saturday they arrived and we more or less hung out for the two days. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening with me. In fact, I had been having practice surges (Braxton-hicks) for a while  but they were not increasing in intensity or getting closer together. I actually worried we were making all kinds of fuss for a baby who might make his debut to this life a little late.

My dad had planned on taking care of some business on Monday and then returning to West Yellowstone Tuesday morning. He and I had been staying up late just chatting away and Monday night was no exception. I don’t remember exactly when things started up, my dad thinks about 10:30 PM was when I started saying “wow, that was a good one!” Again, I thought it was just practice surges. I also thought they were increasing intensity and coming closer together because I was tired and had been staying up late the past few nights. During our chat my dad kept asking if I was sure that baby wasn’t coming that night. I reassured him that I had at least a few more days. I finally decided to go to bed around 11:30PM because I couldn’t talk through the surges any more. My dad asked if I wanted him to stay up “just in case” but I told him not to worry about it. With Lizzie I had one day when things felt intense but then went away. I had her a few days later. I was sure this was the same thing.

I got a drink of water and went to the bathroom, sure these things would help, but the surges kept coming. I could hardly get in my pj’s and that’s when I woke up Bryce. I told him the surges were coming on strong but I thought it was because I was tired. We did a relaxation exercise to see if that helped. It did help…but not like I had expected. It helped me get through the surges, but they kept on coming. That’s when we decided to time them. They were 5 min apart and lasting between a minute to a minute and a half each. That is when I knew I was in labor. I decided to go to the bathroom again and take a shower to help get through the surges. He called the mid wife and started to get things ready. That was probably around midnight sometime, maybe a little later.

While I was in my shower I decided to do a self exam to see if I could feel any progression. I was definitely dilated (though not completely) and could feel the baby’s little head. Each time I felt a surge I felt the urge to squat in place. Bryce called in and told me he had called our midwife, Chris, and that she wanted us to call her back as soon as I was out of the shower and let her know how I felt. I told him to call her back and tell her to get here quickly because I thought I just felt his head.

I had used up all the hot water during my shower so while I laid down to try to relax, Bryce was filling every pot in the house to heat up and add to the cold water in the kiddie pool he just set up. My doula, Michelle, showed up soon and alternated helping Bryce get the pool filled with warm water and helping me get through my surges. By this time they were pretty strong and I knew I was in transition. I don’t know how long I did that but the last surge I remember I wanted to cry and I knew I couldn’t do it any more so I asked to get in the pool to finish opening. Little did I know that last little surge was the last one I needed for I was fully open and ready to receive the baby. I didn’t realize this, though, till I finally got in the pool, squatted and started to push. My midwife showed up about then and started to get her things ready when I felt the urge to push. This was much different than when Lizzie was born. I felt as if I could totally control these surges and breath my baby down. Unfortunately as I felt him coming out I got excited and decided to give it my all and I pushed that baby out!

I don’t know if he even had time to crown first. All I know is in one big effort, he came out all at once. My midwife got her hands in there just in time to receive him and pull him up. It was about 1:30AM Tuesday morning. The whole labor/delivery was about 3 hours (our best guess). From the time I woke Bryce to the time we met our little man was 2 hours.

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We welcomed our little Alexander  Adam Beattie, in our home at about 1:30AM October 4th (12 days early). He weighed 6lbs 14oz. My smallest baby, but a fighter none-the-less!

I was glad my dad ended up being here for the birth because Lizzie was up and crying nearly the whole time I was in labor and even when I was birthing the baby. She wouldn’t go to my mom, but she was satisfied with my dad. I feel so blessed that he was there and that timing was once again on my side. Needless to say, he didn’t end up going back to West Yellowstone that day.

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After he was born my midwife noticed some meconium in the water and that his cord was stained from the meconium. She told me later this meant it was old meconium, maybe even a couple of days. Because of complications that could arise from this, and he was having just a bit of trouble breathing and heart rate dropped a bit after he was born, an ambulance was called to take him up to Lakeview Hospital. By the time the ambulance came (it was quick) he was already pinking up, breathing better and heart rate had improved, but again we thought it best to take him to the hospital as a precaution. By the time he got there, he was a perfect little baby, just a little cold from the ride so they put him under the heating lights. Bryce went up with him and I stayed home to get myself ready to go up to the hospital. With the help of my midwife and doula, I went up as soon as I could. When I got there Xander was hooked up to a heart monitor to make sure things were OK there. He didn’t need an IV and the tests they wanted to run initially, they decided they didn’t need after all. His x-ray was clear and all in all, he was a healthy baby boy.

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When I got there and heard the update I took one look at him and said, “Well, he looks great to me! Can I nurse him?” The pediatrician said I could and he was nursing with in the first hour of his birth. A good sign! They kept him over night just in case anything popped up. Bryce and I were able to rent a room and Xander was able to spend the whole time with us in the room. By the next day the pediatrician couldn’t find any reason to keep him so we got the OK to take him home. We got home Wednesday evening right before dinner! He has been our little champ ever since.

 

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Getting ready to go home….

 

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A little rough start but, with two crazy older sisters to deal with, he will have to be tough. He is doing great and I feel so blessed for all the love, support and prayers coming our way. I can’t even believe how everything just fell into place to welcome this new baby. I truly believe he is a special blessing in our growing family.

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Mom School Fall 2011

So I’ve been homeschooling for awhile now and since Katie is officially supposed to be in the  first grade, we have gotten just a little bit more serious. But who says it has to be all work and no play? Here are some of the things we have done to really drive home some of the lessons we’ve been covering. I have found Katie remembers a lot more when we do these little outings. And it’s good to get out of the house….sometimes.

We have been reading the Little House on the Prairie Series. During one of our reading sessions, Laura goes into great detail about the men working on the railroad. Katie had so many questions about the railroad. So after we finished lessons I asked if she wanted to go to the Golden Spike Museum. Little did I know just how long of a drive and how desolate a location it really was. I had never been and did not expect it to be just  a building in the middle of nowhere. But it was very educational and kind of fun.

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Katie took the last picture of me showing off the baby bump. The girls were so good and we learned a lot.

The following week we took a trip to Thanksgiving Point to really drive home our history lesson. We had been learning about archeology and the different ways to discover history. Going to the dinosaur museum was a great way to really bring that lesson home. Of course first we had to visit the farm and ride ponies.

 

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Digging for Dinos!

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I am really surprised I got this picture since Katie is usually scared of dinosaur statues of any kind. I was happy they cooperated. It was a fun, long day and we were very tired by the end.

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Just a couple days later we had a home school party. The Learn of Utah group puts on a “non back to school” party once a year and we went. It was so much fun. Didn’t have anything to do with what we were learning, but we got to meet other families who home school. Some of the activities included “Digging for Dinos”, a fish pond, Pie eating contest, face painting and a cake walk.

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Here are my girls enjoying a prize from the cake walk.

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On to our Science adventure! OK, so technically we haven’t started science yet, but a trip to Yellowstone Park counts as more than a vacation, right? And we got to see my Mom and Dad. It was great family fun. We also took some friends up with us. This is a place we visit often so no pictures of Old Faithful this time. Katie loves the geysers and we quite often talk about the different animals when we see them. Unfortunately, even the buffalo were shy this trip. We hardly saw anything.  Here are just a few pictures.

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Whew! what a day!

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Our next adventure didn’t really have anything to do with education, but since we have been so busy having fun, I decided to add it. Our last big adventure for the year (at least till baby comes—in 3 weeks), the State Fair! We went with my sister, Misty and her family. Sophia and Katie are best cousins, and cute as can be!

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This picture depicts Lizzie’s feelings about every ride she went on.

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Lizzie feeling much better now that she has ice cream!

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We went a second day as well just the family, but it rained so we didn’t get to really do much.

Lizzie and her typical feelings about rides….

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Katie and her 8th time through the fun house.

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The big yellow slide. As you can see one of my girls really enjoys it, the other… not so much.

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Huge pumpkin!

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Well, the fun is over. Home school is actually a lot of fun. Now we are focusing on this baby and getting him here safe and sound. Who knows when the next field trip will be, so I’m glad we’ve been able to get so much in already.

Happy Home schooling!

What is Wrong With Women in the World Today

I have been brought to this particular subject often lately. It has amazed me how far women have come in history and how far away from womanhood we have come as a disappointing result. Why are women these days so bent on being men? That is my question. We have fought in history to be recognized as intelligent, able equals but at what cost? How did this fight to be equal to men then put me in a position where I have to fight just to be what I am naturally, a woman?

Did we not fight to be heard as women? Did we not rally to be seen as individuals with a voice and a conscience? And yet now we are doing all we can to diminish women into non existence. We were created to bear and rear children, and yet we are doing all we can to hide from that divine calling. We seek out as much intervention as possible when bringing children to the world and mock those who choose a natural course. We have been scared into thinking we can not do it on our own that our bodies are somehow flawed and not up to the task when in actuality, we were born to it.  We bring these children into the world just to abandon them in some disease infested day care or in the arms of another (more capable?) woman. And then sneer downward at those who choose to raise the children they have brought into the world. Somehow we have been mislead to believe that these more conventional choices make us free, more individual and somehow more respectful. Where is womanhood in all that? Where is our soft, serving and nurturing nature? Does the world no longer need these qualities? Did God really make such a drastic mistake in creating  women that we have to fix it by being as manly as possible?

We send our children to school earlier and earlier every year so that we can have our “lives back”. Or more commonly stated so that our children can learn how to be “social”. Who are they really learning from?  The teachers? Or is it really from their peers? Last time I checked, my children were not mature enough or experienced enough to teach someone else how to be good and kind to others. I was told once by a very wise mother that we do not put our children into the world so they can be “well-adjusted” to an un-adjusted world. We teach our children in love and refinement and then send them to the un-adjusted world to fix it. A mother who sends her 3-year old to preschool is hailed as a successful and complete woman and yet the mother who sacrifices her time, talents and energy to give her child the best loving education possible is seen as a socially backward unfulfilled woman.

We call out our government as not being good enough, and yet this is where we look to for employment, education and health care. Then rail against them more for not doing our job as parents. And yet, when one does not seek after the government for help but seeks to take care of their own business, they are looked upon as irresponsible parents. A woman will take her child to the doctor for every ailment just to be sent home with unnecessary prescriptions that she blindly imposes upon her child. This woman is respected as one who knows how to care for the sick. The woman who educates herself on every ailment and seeks to help her sick child even at the cost of her own comfort and sleep, who only takes her child to the doctor for serious illnesses is seen as ridiculous and naive. Where is true motherhood?

I have seen woman more and more covering their bodies in tattoos, piercings and hiding their feminine figures in boyish clothes all out of individualism. I have seen professional woman dress in suites with hair pulled back or chopped completely off to prove their respectability. Woman try harder and harder to lose weight at the very risk of health to rid themselves of their womanly curves. We have convinced our selves that the anorexic look is attractive. On the flip side, some woman decide they have no choice but to be obese hiding those same curves under unhealthy weight. What is wrong with being healthy and having a womanly figure? Where is our beauty as women?

A woman who uses sarcasms to make fun of her husband in public is seen as clever. A woman who honors her husband and follows his lead in the family is seen as timid and the man is seen as overbearing. I have seen woman become offended when men show women courtesy. We make fun of men putting them down in television and mocking their very existence, and yet we are trying to be just like them. We do not allow men to be men or even gentlemen anymore. Where is womanhood?

I am grateful for the women in the past who have fought to give our gender a voice. I am grateful that I am able to vote and hold a position to take care of my family if I ever have a need. But for a gender so intent on making womanhood respectable, I find it interesting that in the process we have demoralized womanhood altogether.

I love being a woman. I can do anything I want to do, what a wonderful time we live in when I am given the opportunities that women have today. But I do not feel unfulfilled or unsuccessful because I chose to be a mother and a wife. I do not have a career but I have everything I could ever hope for. I am able to bring little children into this world. I am able raise them because I have chosen to live a respectable but simple life. I have a good husband who supports our family and because he does, I support him. I have a wonderful equally yoked marriage. I look at my family and feel truly blessed. My happiness is not dependent on my successes in the world. There is always time for that later. Right now I have a lot to offer this family of mine, and I rejoice in this time of my life.

What is wrong with women in the world today? Absolutely nothing. If only we would believe it, step up and be women.

My New Look

  So I have been growing out my hair for a few years now. I never thought I would be ready to go short again but for the last few weeks I’ve been getting the itch. So I finally did it. I can’t ever “plan” the hair cut. I way over think it and then don’t get what I want. I have to think about it for a while, look at many pictures till I find what I like, and then just one day I say, “It’s time, I have to do it RIGHT NOW!” And then I do. So here are my before and after pictures.

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I totally love it!! Now I just have to get used to it.

Christmas Vacation

I can’t believe I am finally writing about Christmas! We’ve been in the new year for one whole week. It is crazy to be 2011 all ready.

We had been planning on visiting Texas as soon as we found out my sister was expecting. What a great time to visit home, see some family and friends, go down memory lane, and make some new memories! But before I dive right in to the trip portion, I have to set this up with the day we celebrated Christmas.

Since we were going to be traveling on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we celebrated a couple of days earlier. Here are the girls in their Christmas dresses for church.

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The girls had a wonderful Christmas morning! Lizzie was so cute! I set up their tent so they would have to go through the tent and tunnel to get to the tree. As soon as they came out on the other side, there was a doll that plays peek-a-boo waiting for Lizzie. She saw it in the store a few days before and fell in love. She cried like crazy when I made her put it back. She was so excited to see her little baby doll.

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For a 15 month old, she is a Christmas morning natural. She opened a gift, played with it for a bit and then went to the next one and repeated until she opened all her gifts. It was so cute!

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Katie is a Christmas morning pro! At 6 years old, she has many Christmas mornings behind her. We didn’t even have to get off the couch. She just got right to passing out the gifts and even waiting to see what you got before she went for another.  I had to take her to see “Tangled” before we had Christmas since she was getting lots of Rapunzel stuff.

Here she is with her new Rapunzel doll and her dressed up as Rapunzel—wig and all! Halloween 2011 is done!

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We enjoyed our morning and the girls relaxed a bit before we began our 10 day road trip. Liz with her peek-a-boo doll and Katie reading her card from Mom.

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But before I go on, we also planned for another remodel to happen while we were away. We removed the fire place right before we left. Here is a picture of me in front of what used to be our fire place. I was also trying to get a picture of my 70lb weight loss!

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So we were off! Christmas morning was done and that afternoon we traveled to my sister, Misty’s house in Oak City, UT. We spent the night there and the next morning began our 2 day journey to Texas.

Here we are at a rest stop for lunch the first day. Katie was so excited that her cousin Sophie could ride in the car with her.

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That night we stopped at a local hamburger joint. We barely got food before they closed because for the rest of the world, it was Christmas Eve. We stayed at a hotel that night and early the next day we drove until we reached Pleasanton, Texas. Here are some pictures we got as we drove into Texas. There was not much to see during the day, but at night it was pretty cool.

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The girls held up pretty well, but it was a long drive and they were done being in the car. We had dinner at Jack in the box (never again) and again we barely got food because to the rest of the world it was Christmas night. Here is Jessica holding Sophie and Katie. Cute girls!

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Sunday morning and the fourth day of the trip. We went to the baby blessing. My little niece, Christina, being held by her daddy in her blessing dress. My mom crocheted the dress and my Grandma crocheted the blessing blanket. She has a lot of dark, thick, and long hair! So different from my babies, but so adorable.

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Just hanging out.

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WHEW! What a day! My brother, Jared, catching a snooze and Lizzie, too!

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It has been so long since I have seen Jared and his family! They had not yet met my kids, and I had not yet met their two youngest. Here is his family. Jared, his wife Melissa and their four children Heidi (in Jared’s arms), Megan, Ethan, and little Christian. I didn’t get a picture of my sister, Dawn because she got sick and ended up in bed all day. Bummer! Also my brother Wiley and his family wasn’t able to make it. Double Bummer!!

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Monday, day 5 of our adventure. The Alamo and the Riverwalk. We wanted to spend some time in San Antonio. Unfortunately I forgot to recharge my camera battery so I didn’t get any pictures at the Alamo. We also drove by our old house. Such memories! Misty took pictures so I will have to get some from her. Misty’s family headed up to Jared’s house in Weatherford, Texas. I bought a disposable camera and my family took a boat ride on the river. We didn’t have time to walk the Riverwalk, but we did hang out at the Rivercenter Mall for awhile. That night we had dinner with one of my friends from High School, Annette. It has been so long since I have seen Annette!!! I was so glad we got to visit, even if it was briefly at the Mi Tierra. A very yummy Mexican restaurant at the Market Square, San Antonio.FH000018 FH000020  0005713-R1-044-20A 0005713-R1-046-21A 0005713-R1-048-22A   

One of my best friends from High School Annette.

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Tuesday, the sixth day of our trip was spent mainly on the road. We thought about going downtown again but with the rain we decided to just head up to Weatherford to hang out with my brother and his family. He lives about 5 hours away from San Antonio, but it took us a bit longer than that. I think it was more like 9 hours with restless kids and frequent stops, it seemed like we were never going to get there. Plus we HAD to stop at Bill Miller’s BBQ so I could show Bryce what fast food BBQ was like. Here are a couple of those pictures…

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Lizzie was pretty fed up with traveling by this point and kept screaming. Not the crying screaming, but the abrupt, loud, just because she can type screaming. Every half minute she would just let one loose to the point that I had to stick my head out the window into the wind to help buffer the penetrating screech escaping my daughters lungs. I was sure if my ears didn’t start bleeding, I would surly go deaf. But we made it to Weatherford and I was glad to be out of that car. I am sure everyone was glad.

Wednesday, day seven of our glorious trip was spent mostly hanging out with my brother and family. It was so much fun. Bryce and I got up early to go for a run to help balance all the holiday feasting we had been indulging. That night we went to dinner with another old friend TeriAnn, from collage. We were also roommates. My camera, though charged was not at the ready for any of this day (sigh), but definitely memorable. I was really sad I didn’t take any pictures with TeriAnn, but between her kids and mine being restless, it was a miracle we got through dinner! So much fun and again I wish the visit could have been longer.

We headed out for Colorado that night to avoid any more screaming. We figured if we drove through the night then we would be driving mostly while the girls were sleeping and maybe we wouldn’t be as frazzled for our next destination. It turned out to be a really good idea because we missed the snow storm by a few hours. We got into Colorado Springs on Thursday (our 8th day) and by this time, we were very much done with being on the road! But we got to visit with Valerie and her family for 2 whole days! Finally a nice rest from driving. Valerie and I practically grew up together. We have been best buds for a very long time…since grade school! So for the first day, we just hung out and chatted. Bryce and Harvey (Valerie’s husband) and the kids played a dancing game which was really fun to watch. We tried to go to the Garden of the Gods, but that was when the snow came in, so we just headed back to their place and had hot chocolate and relaxed some more.

On the ninth day of vacation, our families hung out at the mall and then that night, New Years, went to one of their friend’s house to welcome in the new year. So much fun. Too bad it was at the end of a very long trip!  Here are the kids playing at the mall playground. The little boy is Noah, Valerie’s son.

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Val and I stayed up chatting while Bryce and the girls slept. I thought it was so cute! They are covered by a quilt I made  Bryce for Christmas. I made it out of his old jeans. Happy New Years my sleeping cuties!

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The 10th day, Saturday and the last day of Vacation. Or so we thought. We were supposed to head home and get home sometime that evening. But we didn’t leave till late. All that partying we did the night before….

Here we are saying good bye to our wonderful hosts. Valerie’s daughter had spent the night at a friend’s house, so we didn’t get a picture with her in it, but I made sure we got pictures this time!

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We both just got up. Wish we had taken pictures the night before, oh well.

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Katie with their dog Tex. Katie was afraid of this dog the whole time, she finally got brave to sit next to it for a picture and even pet it a few times. I love this picture because they both have the same look on their face.

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Because of all the snow storms we determined the best route was through Wyoming. The only problem is that Wyoming is colder and windier then Colorado. Even though we started out late, I still hoped to be home that night. It didn’t happen. We got Rawlins, Wyoming before we finally decided to stop. The wind blew the snow over the road so you couldn’t see and the cold made black ice a concern for our safety. At about 5PM, we knew we were not going to make it home and decided to find a motel. Problem one-we have never been to Rawlins. Problem two- it was cold and dark. Problem three-Katie had to pee, and I mean bad. After trying several places that were closed and almost getting stuck in snow patches, we finally found a Burger King where Katie could finally go to the bathroom.  The wind and cold made it impossible to just stop at the road side, but it was intense there for about half an hour. We decided to get dinner there at the BK since we had enough and just wanted to get in somewhere warm and safe. We ended up at the Comfort Inn just across the parking lot from the BK.

Whew! We were so glad. The girls quickly snugged themselves into bed and watched TV. I had to laugh so here I took a picture of it.

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Sunday, the real final day and day 11. I am not kidding, this had to be the longest road trip I ever made. Here is Bryce driving us home!! And the girls just holding on a little longer.   

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But to give a clearer picture of what we were up against while driving home…

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Gotta love that chili wind! But we did make it home and boy were we ready! I could have kissed the threshold! And we also came home to our brand new living room!! Good bye old, ugly and useless fire place, hello brand new window!! Katie is standing in the same place I was standing in the picture at the beginning of this post.

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If you made it this far, thanks for reading. It was a fun trip and I will never do it again! But really, I am so happy I got to see all of my friends and family. I have missed you all so much and this really was revitalizing for me. And though I am glad to be home, there is a part of me that wishes it could have been longer.

Spencer’s Birthday

Another year has passed since we lost our little baby boy. I can’t believe it has been this long.  Yesterday (the 14th) marked 3 years and this is the first year I haven’t completely fallen apart. I miss him everyday and usually this time of year brings back all kinds of hard memories. This time all I thought about was what he would have been doing on his third birthday.

I woke up and spent awhile just imagining what would have been while I heard my girls in the other room with Bryce. I wondered if he would have jumped on my bed to wake me up because he was so excited. I wondered what I would have bought him for his birthday and what kind of cake I would have made him. Would he be a “Superman” or Robot kid. What do boys like anyway. I guess I would have known by now what to get a boy for his birthday. As I lay there thinking I felt warm and happy.

It was Sunday, so I wondered if our church preparations would have been filled with happiness and excitement. I wondered if I would have told him over and over again how glad I was that he was born and my son. So I told him. I told him right there before I got out of bed that I was glad he was born and was my son.

What do you give an angel baby on their birthday. I can’t give him something to hold or play with. I can’t give him something to wear. I thought of what he would have wanted for me. I decided to live my life so that I was healthy and strong and be the kind of mother he would be proud of. I decided to live a life he never had a chance to live and to seek out my happiness because I knew he would want me to be happy. I also thought of doing something for someone else, so when his first birthday approached I decided that every year I would gather things in his honor to donate to other grieving parents who have lost a baby.

This year we are gathering items to donate to SHARE, which is an organization for parents who have lost a baby due to miscarriage, still birth or infant death. Depending on the type of loss, they have special mementos that they can give to remember your baby. This week we are collecting items from the SHARE wish list and I will be taking it with me to the next meeting in memory of Spencer. All those who would like to participate, I am leaving a list of items SHARE is in need of, and you can drop any items off at my house, or mail them. Which ever is easiest. If you need my address please send me a message and I will email it to you, or call.

Here is the list:

Gowns made in all sizes (I can email you a pattern if you feel this ambitious)

Zip lock bags for blanket packets in gallon and quart sizes

Glad press and seal

Any embellishments, flowers, ribbon, that can be used in box decorating (boxes are used for hand and foot molds)

Glue sticks for glue guns

Soft colored (or baby) scrapbook paper for hand and footprint cards

boys burial clothing in all sizes

I will also be crocheting gowns and need yarn (blue for boy, pink for girl, and white or cream for ?)

I will actually be giving these items at the meeting the first week of December, so you can drop them off any time before that, but this week I am going to be pretty proactive in getting things collected.

Thank you all for the help and the support you show my family every year at this time. I love you all and I am so grateful for you.